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Of Blockchain technology, healthcare and data security 

No doubt that technology has revolutionized healthcare in the world, but has also brought with it threats of data insecurity.

There are worldwide complaints by members of the public about how much personal information hospitals collect about patients and as to whether this information is protected and kept private.

With advancements in technology, medical facilities have found themselves needing to collect data from patients and storing it in a centralised database where it can be referenced for future visits or expert analysis. 

In July 2018, there were reports that shocked Singapore when a data breach led to compromising of personal data of 1.5 million patients. This raised eyebrows the world over and triggered the government of Uganda to take action. A new law, the Data Protection and Privacy Act was assented to by President Museveni on February 25.

While this offers some sort of reprieve, it does not guarantee the protection of one’s data from breach but rather regulates and protects the use of data. Experts and activists are hoping newer technology such as Blockchain will offer a more viable solution.

Blockchain is a database or distributed ledger that is shared across a network. Blockchain’s goal is to allow digital information to be recorded and distributed but cannot be edited. The said ledger is encrypted such that only authorized parties can access the data.

Speaking at the 2nd Health Innovations conference about how the fourth industrial revolution will improve the health service industry, Kwame Rugunda, chief executive - Crypto Savannah reaffirmed how Blockchain technology will revolutionise record keeping in the health sector.

“With Blockchain technology, data for health care will be processed efficiently and will be secure and protected from breach.” Rugunda said.

According to Rugunda , the fourth industrial revolution is going to improve service delivery as medical personnel would be able to do their work efficiently and at a very fast speed. It would also foster collaboration among all stakeholders like financial services if products like medical insurance are absorbed by the system.

The 2019 Health Innovation conference was presided over by the Makerere University deputy vice chancellor academic affairs, Dr Umaru Kakumba who praised the initiative for promoting Makerere as a centre of excellence through research which according to him is the end factor of production.

The conference, in its second year and is running for for two days from March 19-20. It is hosted by the Uganda Academy for Health and Innovation and Impact, a project housed within the Infectious Diseases Institute (IDI), Makerere University.

aaronorena@gmail.com 

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